Match Report v Bristol Bears
The Lambs produced a spirited display in horrendous conditions as they faced Bristol Bears U18s at QEH School, Bristol on Sunday (26th January). The scoreline read as a heavy defeat, but it does not tell the story of an entertaining and well balanced game in which The Lambs produced some excellent rugby.
Bristol Bears were, as expected, an extremely tough opponent. It was their wider U18s squad coming out to face The Lambs following an Academy League win over Harlequins the previous day, and they were organised and intelligent. The ultimate difference in the game was their ability to put away the chances they had in the 22; whilst they were also able to add extra pressure to The Lambs, on top of the weather, when the boys in pink were looking to run it out of the wind and rain.
The Lambs stuck to their 'Fast and Free' philosophy, running the ball from all over the field despite the challenges of the weather - conditions that don't favour their preferred style of play! The line breaks came and many of the offloads stuck, but a combination of the conditions and a stoic Bristol defence meant they struggled to convert the pressure they created by playing with width and tempo into tries.
At the 25 minute mark the score read 7-19 to Bristol Bears Academy. Some powerful carrying by Bristol's Talbot and Taufua, alongside excellent control by fly half and captain Vaughan meaning they were clinical in their execution. It was King's Gloucester's Tom Day who replied for The Lambs, getting his second in two games, after some impressive defence and transition play. On the half time whistle Bristol scored again to take the score to 7-26 at the break.
The second half saw more of the same, ambition from both sides broken down by hearty defences and the awful weather. However, the deadlock was broken in the last 20 minutes, and the additional size (both in numbers and physically!) of the Bristol bench allowed them to refresh and eventually get over the line three more times in the closing stages. The pick of the tries coming from Packer in the last play of the game as he picked up a ball that fired out the scrum to head downfield and score under the posts. Final score 7-52, but The Lambs never gave up or gave in.
Director of Rugby Alex Laybourne said:
"It was a shame about the weather today, which stopped both teams playing as much as they wanted to, however it didn't stop the ambition shown and ultimately an entertaining spectacle. The score doesn't reflect the performance from our boys, but credit must also go to Bristol Bears for their ability to execute their opportunities in these conditions as well.
Ultimately, today is a great bench mark for us and a real opportunity to learn going forward. I was impressed by the players willingness and ability to play 'Fast and Free' in difficult conditions like this, and I believe they will be better for the experience. And, if nothing else, it is another memory made that they won't forget to play in a game like this!"
Men of the Match:
The Lambs - Seb Dickins (Felsted)
Bristol Bears U18s - Vaughan